Audi, BMW and Daimler to acquire mapping service
In an effort to secure the long-term availability of its global digital mapping/location and other mobility services, Audi AG, the BMW Group and Daimler AG have entered into an agreement to purchase the HERE organization from the Nokia Corporation. Subject to approval by various anti-trust authorities, the $3.1 billion deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016. The automakers call the acquisition the first step in developing new assist systems that may lead to fully autonomous vehicles. Despite the expected change of ownership, all three principals in this consortium promise not to interfere with HERE's existing business operations.
Audi, BMW and Daimler execs believe integrating HERE's extremely precise digital maps that now cover nearly 200 countries with more-sophisticated real-time vehicle data acquired from on-board sources will elevate the overall level of automotive safety in all driving environments. Although each will hold an equal share of HERE and its formidable assets, Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, noted: "With the joint acquisition of HERE, we want to secure the independence of this central service for all vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and customers in other industries," adding that each will be able to customize applications to meet their individual brand-specific needs.
Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Technical Development, Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG for Development, and Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG for Group Research went on to note that the rise of "swarm intelligence" generated by vehicles will play a critical role in providing earlier and more meaningful alerts to drivers about everything from dangerous road conditions to better avoiding traffic jams or optimizing fuel economy by locking into phased traffic signals in urban areas.
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